The Attitudes of Iranians toward the Becker Proposition


Faculty of Social Sciences and Economics, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran


This paper evaluates attitudes of Iranians toward crossing red traffic lights and their sensitivity to fines. Economic theory of crime under expected utility predicts that because of the possibility of severe punishments, risk adverse individuals would not cross red lights. This is implied by the Becker proposition. However, among 262 individuals surveyed, more than half of the sample has previous records of conviction with respect to traffic laws. The result indicates that the effect of introducing a new fine on pedestrians is about twice the effect of increasing the existing fine on drivers by 150%. The elasticity of crossing red lights with respect to fine hike is -0.25. Regression analysis shows that previous record of breaking traffic laws, being single and crossing red lights by cars are significant explanatory variables for decision to do jaywalking.


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